Islands and saints

We were up early yesterday…relatively speaking. We had to get down to the harbour for 9.40am to get a boat for a trip we had booked to three of the Elafiti islands, an archipelago northwest of Dubrovnik. The boat was called Kufinova.

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There are 13 in total but we just went to Šipan, Lopud and Koločep which are the biggest. They’re about 17km from Dubrovnik by sea.

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Once we’d boarded the ship, which the Croatian sailor was VERY proud of (it’s new and much better than the last one apparently), we set sail. Well, set sail with an engine but let’s not be pedantic. We got some amazing views of the city on the way out.

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There was a really cute older Irish couple on board who kept cuddling, look 🤗😍 They wore comfy shoes and got well stuck into the booze 😂

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There was also a calm and quiet Finnish family, a few Brits and some French people who spent a lot of the time complaining about the fact people were speaking to them in English, amongst other things. Oh, and some Australians with a toddler who both looked and behaved like Dan did when he was little (from all accounts). A cheeky monkey, basically. Dan is still like that today.

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Our first step was Koločep, a small fishing community. There were lots of nets hanging out to dry and in piles.

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We went off the beaten track a bit and found a gorgeous little 11th century chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. The church bell is from 1586 and they have mass here several times a year. There were churches on all the islands but this was the most interesting in my view.

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They also have a big feast on 15th June for St Anthony. It is a public holiday. He is the patron saint of fishermen, and Lisbon too, you may recall. Also pregnant women, the poor and the oppressed. We aren’t religious but lit a candle for good luck anyway. Why not.

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So St Anthony seems a top bloke basically, if you go in for that sort of thing, which they clearly do here in a big way. This was taken in Dubrovnik in the evening…

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There were lovely flowers all over the three islands.

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The houses were wonderful too. Slightly delapidated but more charming for it.

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It was very remote and rural. There was a man chopping some food in his little brick and wood house. He had tomatoes growing in the garden. There were also some ants eating a dead mouse nearby but you know, that’s nature.

After looking round Koločep, we went back to the boat, first passing a few fishermen on their day off, who initially looked suspicious but were more smiley when I tried saying hello in Croatian.

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Once back on the boat we had a picnic of pickled cabbage and barbequed whole fish. It was delicious. Once everyone was finished we threw the leftovers to the seagulls who went mad for it.

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The next island, Šipan, was equally beautiful but perhaps a little more developed. Still pretty remote mind you…

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There were petals and baubles scattered around for St Anthony’s day.

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The final island, Likud, was the most developed and largest, and where we had the longest to explore (two hours). We found a park called Dordic Mayeri which had been built for a local noble family in the second half of the 19th century.

DSC_0756.JPGIt had clearly seen better days; the sign at the front explicitly said it needs major investment. It did look like a paid gardener wouldn’t go amiss. That said, it had a lot of charm and character regardless.

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We found another little church called the chapel of St Gerome.

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We also walked past the grand hotel, which has the dubious honour of being the first concrete hotel on the island, built in 1927.

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Then we stopped off in a cafe by the sea. The inside was cute with lots of pretty ornaments, a piano, trinkets and family photos.  We met a man from Ilford who was travelling alone and had some beer and tea with him. He works for a courier company and was interesting to chat to, not least as he’d had a total saga on his way here and lost his passport in Germany (!) Poor bloke.

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We set sail back for Dubrovnik.

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We passed a few local boys on the way in a boat, who had just caught a huge fish and were proudly displaying it for everyone to see.

In the evening in Dubrovnik there was a procession for St Anthony. There’s a snap included earlier but here is another anyway.

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We went to a restaurant called Azur for dinner. I had Thai prawns and white wine, it was really good. Dan had curried meatballs in broth.

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Dubrovnik at night is utterly beautiful. It’s like a whole new city from the day time.

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We saw this sign, clearly some locals sick of tourists disrespecting their homes.

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We got an early night as our friend Breogan is joining us from the UK tomorrow, but not before I did a bit of sewing and fixed my swimsuit strap which I am totally smug about. I was going to buy a new one, but it seems silly to waste the money when I’ve got one I like already. I think this means I am becoming an old git. That and the shoe recommendation I asked for off a 70 year old on the boat 😂

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I feel a bit bad having such a wonderful holiday when there is so much awful news back home: first the attack then the Grenfell fire. I donated a bit of money to the dispossessed fund for the families, and would urge everyone who can afford to donate to do so. They have just had their lives devastated and I’m willing to bet most of them can’t afford insurance. Please help if you can.

https://campaign.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/londoncommunity/grenfell

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